DOH readies for major interstate work between Princeton and Bluefield

PRINCETON, W.Va. — Contractors for the state Division of Highways will begin another major interstate construction project in the coming weeks. The rehabilitation of a nine-mile stretch of Interstate 77 between Princeton and Bluefield is scheduled.

The work is part of approximately 60 miles of interstate the DOH is rehabbing this year as part of the Roads to Prosperity program. The work includes taking off all of the asphalt to the base of the highway, DOH Communications Director Brent Walker said.

“We’ll take a large piece of equipment that will come down hard and crack close to the base and then we’ll roll it, compact it and resurface it. So it will be about nine inches of new asphalt,” Walker said.

The Mercer County project is scheduled to begin in a few weeks and take most of the summer.

A traffic plan that will limit northbound motorists to one lane while keeping two lanes open southbound will accompany the work, Walker said.

“Northbound will be down to one lane and we’re going to require (tractor-trailer) trucks to get off the Bluefield exit and come up around U.S. Route 460 and come back in to I-77 at Princeton. We’re going to establish a contra-flow (southbound). You’ll have one lane headed down in what would normally be the opposite direction. So we’ll have two lanes heading south,” Walker said.

The DOH will keep an eye on the northbound truck traffic through Bluefield and Princeton and make the necessary adjustments, Walker said.

“If we feel like we need to intervene and do more to help trucks navigate 460 through several stop lights then we will,” Walker said.

Residents were set to learn about the plans in a public meeting Monday evening at Princeton City Hall.

The DOH has already had a pre-construction meeting with the job contractor. The agency is also working with the highways departments in Virginia and Ohio to let them know about the project.

Contractors began a similar rehabilitation project in Interstate 64 in Putnam and Cabell counties earlier this month.

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